Brian Kuhl smiles as he recalls exchanges with parents whose children have attended Progressive Agriculture Safety Day events.
“Coordinators get phone calls from parents asking them, ‘What did you teach my kid? Now he’s telling me how to be safe,’” says Kuhl, CHS director of strategic sourcing and Progressive Agriculture Foundation (PAF) board president. “By teaching kids about safety, we are training them to be stronger role models.”
CHS partners with PAF and other organizations that are committed to improving safety in rural areas and equipping kids with practical skills.
“The idea of rural safety is changing,” says Kuhl. “There is increased focus on lifestyle safety topics, and safety days have started popping up in larger cities.”
Every year more than 400 safety days are hosted for children ages 12 and younger. PAF coordinators and volunteers host interactive sessions to teach kids lessons ranging from farm equipment use and grain bin safety to broader issues, such as ATV and chemical safety.
“At CHS, we hold safety as a high priority,” he adds. “Our hope is that through support of programs like PAF we can drive value for our member-owners and support groups that positively impact their rural communities.”
Also with funding from CHS, the Propane Education & Resource Council developed Our Amazing Farm learning tools, which use videos and games to help kids learn about propane and general farm safety. The program includes science experiments that can be conducted using items found around the farm.
Whether it’s through videos or safety days, the hope is that safety will become engrained in the lives of young people, allowing them to recognize potential accidents before they happen.
Everyone knows a story of a child who has been injured on the farm, Kuhl says. “We care about our communities. When kids get injured or killed, it affects everyone. If we keep one kid safe, that’s all that matters.”